Gu Hongming as a cultural amphibian : a Confucian universalist critique of modern western civilization
Journal of World History
University of Hawai'i Press
Intellectuals around the world debated the meaning of civilization during the World War I era. This article reexamines the life and ideas of the so-called Chinese sage Gu Hongming. Born and raised in British Malaya, Gu grew up as an English-educated Romanticist, but he ended as a staunch monarchist and eminent Confucian propagandist to the early twentieth-century Western world. In contrast to the traditional label of "cultural conservative," I propose the new concept of "cultural amphibians" to characterize Gu and his contemporary "spokesmen of the East." Because of their social "hybrid vigor" and transcultural competence at a time of rapid global transformations, these men were able to forge "authentic" identities across national, ideological, and cultural boundaries. Seemingly rooted in a cultural and ideological confrontation between the West and the non-West, their discourses on "Eastern-Western civilizations" are in fact better seen as marked by a global intellectual syncretism.
Journal of World History © 2011 University of Hawai'i Press. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.
Du, C. (2011). Gu Hongming as a cultural amphibian: A Confucian universalist critique of modern western civilization. Journal of World History, 22(4), 715-746.